It has been just over three months since I started taking sertraline daily to help me manage feelings of depression and anxiety. It's magic. On a side note, I took part in an academic meeting yesterday in which a colleague was angered by being accused of "magical thinking" with respect to the use of certain medical approaches ... I refrained from commenting that I tend to think of anything that results in amazing improvements in health as being magical ... I know that wasn't the intent of the dis, but I call many things magic ... Calendula, Arnica, a good night's sleep ... and for me right now, sertraline.
You can read the backstory here. Since my very first dose of the medication, I've felt better. I knew at the time that the initial improvements in my mood were due to a placebo effect, and I waited to see if it would wear off. However, I have continued to feel great. I don't mean great as in I'm joyful all the time. Life isn't like that. Hills and valleys, light and dark ... pick your metaphor. But I feel a greater sense of peace and acceptance. The tricky times feel logical and manageable and I feel optimistic that they will pass. I can run across a bridge without thinking about jumping off (truly ... prior to starting the medication I had very dark thoughts as I ran across the bridges over Toronto's ravines; I wondered about instigating an "accident" as I rode my bike), and I've caught myself smiling - actually, authentically smiling - as I spin along a trail through the changing autumn leaves. I've woken both my children recently - on separate occasions - laughing uproariously out loud at a passage in a book. In situations that a year ago would have sent me into a tailspin I'm aware of a greater capacity to take what I need and release the rest. I have more clarity. I feel like me.
It's very possible that this is all placebo - I'm on the lowest possible dose of the medication. But I really don't care (I'm a big fan of placebo). Whatever the magic is, it is allowing me to engage in the deeper work that is the long road. It is allowing me to see myself more clearly, to sweep out the cobwebs in my spirit. For now, I'm content to continue using this tool - one of many in my repertoire of pursuing a full and meaningful life. Magic. Grateful.